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Oklahoma auditor criticizes EMSA, calls for 'change in culture'

EMSA was criticized in an Oklahoma audit for expenditures including satellite radio for a CEO. The state auditor and inspector said the EMSA Board of Trustees stood by while improper spending took place.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Modified: January 22, 2013 at 8:49 pm •  Published: January 22, 2013
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“Policies in support of the authority's mission must be implemented and consistently followed to ensure effective oversight and accountability,” Jones said.

“Without proper policies involving purchasing, expense reimbursement, and conflict-of-interest disclosure, the board has unintentionally fostered a culture of acquiescence in which officers and employees are permitted to establish inappropriate patterns of expenditure behavior and fail to disclose potential conflicts of interest, unbeknown to members of the board.”

Conflicts of interest outlined in the report included the employment of Williamson's daughter by the firm EMSA uses for bill collections.

Also mentioned was that some of Williamson's travel costs as president of American Ambulance Association were paid by Paramedics Plus, a company EMSA uses to obtain its paramedics.

Auditors found billing and collection errors by the authority were not as extensive as some critics had complained, but they found the board was lacking in compliance with practices and procedures generally considered acceptable for a public body, including a lack of financial oversight and poor attendance by board trustees.

Board to review audit recommendations

Williamson declined to comment to The Oklahoman on Tuesday, but EMSA board Chairwoman Lillian Perryman said in a news release that the audit was requested because the organization is working to improve its practices and procedures.

“We requested it because we wanted specific areas evaluated by a third party and look forward to seeing their recommendations,” Perryman said.

“The board and EMSA management must review the report and recommendations made by the state auditor in detail and make decisions based on what is best for the citizens of the communities served by EMSA. Any recommendations will be evaluated and acted upon rapidly in the next few months, as appropriate.”

Perryman said the board will discuss the audit in length at a meeting scheduled for Wednesday.


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